A place for complete-off-topic conversations that have nothing to do with Star Trek. The rules still apply here, stay civil.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#542878
Pool Hall Blues
Original Air Date: March 14, 1990
Written by: Randy Holland
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap date: September 4, 1954

This time: Seam leaps into a pool parlor. After expressing confusion at a bet over the shot, the wager is increased. He misses and as his opponent gets ready to win the bet, an older spectator, Grady, tells the player than Sam leapt into Charlie “Black Magic” Walters, pool legend. The opponent withdraws his wager and most everyone has a good laugh.

The lounge singer, Violet, comes off the stage and quiets everyone down. She is the proprietress of the venue and Magic’s granddaughter. A local named Eddie is not willing to let things go for the night. He holds the marker, and it is coming due in two days. He is eager to take the place over.

Al arrives, fan gushing over Magic. Al has a history with Magic; the legend helped him get through a dark time in the orphanage. Eddie has wanted to play Magic and puts up the marker for that privilege, knowing that Magic’s eyes are past their prime. Sam’s may be better, but he does not know pool.

The next morning, Sam proposes they go to a bank and get the money to buy out the maker. At their local branch, they are referred to Mr. Griffin, the sole African American Loan Officer. Despite wanting to help, their application is denied. Violet in convinced that she will have to give Eddie ‘what he wants’ to get rid of the marker. Sam is able to stop her before things go too far, but that means that the game is the only way to keep the place.

Al gives Sam a primer, and while there is progress, getting the angles right is a matter of geometry. Sam knows the basics but knowing what to do is a skill that takes years. Al wishes he could draw it out and does, thanks to the magic of holograms.

Things go well until the holographic lights start to fade. There is a power issue and Al goes to see what he can do leaving Sam to stall. Sam calls for a time out letting Grady put away the cue. Eddie has a flunky take out the pool cue. He also does a good job on Grady, though Sam gets revenge. Grady lets Sam use another cue; Grady’s own.

Back from the break, Al comes through but with only a couple minutes of power left. The match point is a tricky shot going off three rails when the power goes out for good. Sam pulls it off on his own and claims the marker. Violet rips it and Sam leaps …

… into a swinging acrobat.

Stop talking to yourself: In a rarity, Sam does not monologue at all. We will need to keep track of this going forward.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al hates going to the men’s room for a moment with Sam.

Mirror images that were not his own: As Grady lists Magic’s resume, Sam gets a look at the legend. He gets a better look in the men’s room.

Brush with history: Sam might have introduced the term “happening” into the vernacular.

Something or someone: After winning, Sam gets to hang around for a moment to have some bonding with Violet. Not too much as he leaps mid-sentence.

It’s a science project: We get to see the geometry of pool in this episode.

Let’s up the rating: While we do see Violet dressed up all purty, just like with monologuing, there is a distinct lack of sexiness in this episode.

One more time: “You’ve made it. Maybe it took you twice as long, but you made it. And being first bears some responsibility to those who are trying to make it behind you.”
Sam to Loan Officer Griffin.

Trivial Matters: Al mentions that he fan goobered at seeing Magic in the Waiting Room. The general assumption is that everyone including Al sees Sam as the leapee while the person in the Waiting Room always looks like Sam. In this case, we can say that Magic revealed his identity and Al went all fangoobery.

Put right what once went wrong: “Pythagoras, we are going to shoot some pool!” There are all sorts of sports movies. Football. Soccer. Baseball. Hockey, Tennis Ping Pong. Even Chess. Pool is not really represented in the pantheon.

This episode is exhibit A for why they should get more credence.

This is a great hour of television to watch. While I am not a sports movie fan, this was compelling drama to behold. The scenario is set up at the start and everyone gets their chance to shine. There is even time left at the end for the requisite climactic shot to win.

There is not a bad note in the cast. Shari Headley plays violet as the strong African American female business owner who does what she must to keep her business afloat. She has come nice scenes where she reminisces with Sam. Teddy Wilson’s Grady is the kind of guy you will hang around with for an hour even when you only have fifteen minutes. There is a charisma that is hard to describe and really must be seen. As Eddie, J. W. Smith plays villainous smarm but is motivated beyond twirling his moustache. It helps the stakes when we know the antagonist and see their side of things. Griffin is only in one scene, but it is magnificent. There are hushed tones and even if he could approve the loan, there are doubts he would do so. It is a smack in the face of Sam and brilliantly acted by the three. Robert Gossett does a lot with a little.

The writing is fantastic as well. We get scenes establishing character relationships. Sam and Violet, Eddie and Violet, Sam and Eddie, Sam and Grady. There is a lot of character work done with Magic’s pool cue. Al is especially motivated to get Magic out of his debt. His solution of literally showing Sam the ropes is genius and appeases the geometry fans in the audience.

The pool hall scenes really give you a flavor for the atmosphere. There is a live band, and everyone genuinely seem to be having a good time meaning that they are either amazing actors or they were having a genuinely good time. It is probably a bit of both. Nonetheless the setting rang true for an enjoyable episode.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#543391
Leaping In Without A Net
Original Air Date: March 28, 1990
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Christopher T. Welch
Leap Date: November 18, 1958

This time: Sam leaps into a swinging acrobat. A woman is on another bar and tries to jump into his arms. She is Eva, sister to Victor, the person Sam leapt into. They are children of Lazio Panzini, famed acrobat. He comes in, furious that Victor is on the trapeze. As Lazio yells at his son, the other acts in the circus come in to see what the fuss is about and get a good laugh before being shooed off.

Eva is trying to perfect The Triple, a very dangerous and technical move. If she can master that move, they will be a successful act. Several of the other acts hope she does master it as long as she and the family ends up staying with the troupe. Al shows up with little to go on except confirming that the Panzini’s used to be a great act, but their mother, Marie, died and Lazio cut back the act.

In a performance, Sam realizes that he is not part of the act. He is relieved, but Al arrives to say that in two days, Eva will leap and her father, with a bad arm, will drop her to her death. Eva practices on her own and makes good progress. Sam agrees to catch her, though he has a lot to learn first.

Meanwhile, Lazio gets a telegram offering a gig with another, bigger troupe. He accepts, but the rest of the acts wonder what will happen to them as there is not all that much without the Panzini’s.

Sam practices with Eva, under tutelage with Al. Sam thinks it went pretty well, but Eva falls and bounces off the net. After a visit to the fortune teller, Sam is reinvigorated. In his trailer, while talking to Marie, Lazio wonders if he should let Victor catch Eva and have it be the first step towards reconciliation. Eva tries the triple, but it doesn’t go well, and Lazio is furious.

Going to the big act, they are greeted by Clifford, the owner. Clifford shows a sign promoting The Triple. Eva has secretly been working to get this gig including The Triple which is a dealbreaker for Clifford. Eva volunteers to do the act with Victor over Lazio’s objection.

That night, they perform the act, though to Sam’s surprise, it is without a net. With Lazio in the audience, they pull it off to thunderous applause. There is a family reconciliation. Sam leaps …

… into a man getting out of a window with a basket. He carries it down a ladder to an awaiting woman and truck. They get in and drive off, but not before she grabs the basket. And pulls a baby out of it.

Fact check: Twenty-four year old Fabiana Udenio plays eighteen year old Eva Panzini. She almost pulls it off.

Stop talking to yourself: All it takes for Sam to realize he is scared of heights is to leap in on a trapeze. He also gives us a rundown of how the circus differs from a carnival.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al has experience with acts after running away from the orphanage. When seeing a psychic, Al gets a sense that she could see him.

Mirror images that were not his own: As is apparently common in a carnival, Sam looks at himself in a funhouse mirror appearing very short. Immediately after, we see a shorter person warped to be very tall.

Something or someone: Sam does not leap until Lazio offers reconciliation. One believes this would be easy for Victor to do upon leaping back.

It’s a science project: Al gives Sam a pretty good lesson on the basics of trapeze artistry. It does not use especially scientific jargon (slip your but off the back) but it does the job.

Let’s up the rating: Eva goes to wake up Victor not knowing either Victor or Sam sleeps in the nude.

One more time: “If it makes you feel any better, Ziggy think this will increase your chances of catching her by, oh, twenty percent.” “Twenty Per… which will make it?” “Thirty percent. “Thirty percent?” “Hey, without you, her chances are zero!”
Al arguing that Sam is doing marginally better.

Put right what once went wrong: “Maybe Big Moe can find you a yellow wig and a red nose and the Panzini’s can be a clown act.” There are two episodes in here. There is the Panzini’s working their way out of the minor leagues and there is the Panzini family moving on. The cut in the middle of the episode is abrupt, abandoning the circus to let them get back on their feet. For some reason, they are entirely forgotten in the end, so hopefully things worked out. We do not even get a mention from Al. There are a few things that do not quite work. The stock footage they use for the end does not quite match up with the sets they use. Or each other. Or the time period.

That is too bad because the circus is well cast. We have fun with mirrors, we have a midget, we have a fortune teller. They are a great ensemble and sell the sense of community. A lot of them do not have a large amount of screen time, but they do a great job, particularly Phil Fondacaro as Big Moe. Part ringmaster part owner, he knows what he is doing. Roya Megnot plays Sybil with a great aura. She has enough sense to wonder if Al is there which totally freaks him (and us) out. We only meet two people in the big city, and one of them is just the ringmaster. They could just as easily have this happen in the smaller venue and have Al say that they graduate to the big leagues or something.

The standouts are Eva and Lazio. Eva plays with almost childlike wonder. She believes she can do it and is an eternal optimist. Fabiana Udenio practically sings her lines and is a joy to watch. Jan Triska plays Lazio with a short fuse only a doting father can have for his children. Stubborn as all heck his word is law, but his children make a name for themselves. It is to his credit that he comes to watch them perform in the end. He is ecstatic and he has a great double act with one of the child extras. The old curmudgeon has a heart after all. Christopher Welch has some great direction, too. Bakula is not a trapeze artist, but the sequences are done well. The atmosphere comes through and there are some great shots in there, especially the funhouse mirrors.

It is not perfect, but Triska is worth the price of admission.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#544225
Maybe Baby
Original air date: April 4, 1990
Written by: Michael Zinberg
Directed by: Julie Brown & Paul Brown
Leap Date: March 11, 1963

This time: Sam leaps into a man getting out of a window with a basket. He carries it down a ladder to an awaiting woman and truck. They get in and drive off, but not before she grabs the basket. And pulls a baby out of it. He is Buster, she is Bunny and her baby is Kristy. They are headed out to New Mexico from Texas to see Kristy’s Aunt Margaret.

Meanwhile, the father, Reed, is telling the Sherriff and Deputy about the kidnapping. Apparently, Bunny is not Kristy’s mother! The three head on off in pursuit.

Stopping at a hotel, Bonnie runs off to get some milk, leaving Sam with Kristy. Al arrives and tells Sam that the odds are that Sam is there to return Kristy to Reed. Bunny is not the mother, making them kidnappers. Originally, they got caught though they might be able to get a reduced sentence if Sam turns them in. Sam does not see that as viable and ends up going with Bunny’s plan.

Sam confronts Bunny who admits to not being Kristy’s mother, but the plan is to take Kristy to hear real mother in New Mexico. Reed has beaten Bunny and she cannot let that happen to Kristy.

On the trail, Reed tells the Sheriff that they are going to New Mexico based off Bunny saying that her parents were from there.

Stopping to pick up a car seat, Sam tells Al about the plan. Al says that Kristy’s mother died in childbirth. There is also more, he cannot find a Margaret in Clayton, New Mexico. Before Sam can confront Bunny, the Sheriff shows up. With Al’s help, they slip out the back, get a new set of wheels and head on out.

On the road, they find themselves low on funds, so Bunny partakes in a local talent contest. They win thanks to Bunny’s talent of … popping balloons on her outfit but the posse shows up. Reed takes Kristy and tells Sam that Bunny never met Kristy before and Kristy’s real mother died in childbirth. Al comes to tell Sam that Kristy’s mother is still alive and Sam must reunite them! They escape but not before Reed follows. At the house, Reed steps out of the car ready to reclaim Kristy. Thankfully, the cavalry arrives and Reed is arrested on warrants from bad real estate deals. Mother and daughter are reunited. Sam leaps …

… into a ship’s cabin where a woman bursts in, kisses him, then slaps him.

Fact check: Some years (decades?) ago, a life-sized Barbie was produced. Bunny has the several of the same criticisms of the doll in comparison to the real thing.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam finds the leap a mix of Three Men and a Baby and Bonnie & Clyde.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is quite adept at being Mister Mom. He knows how to change a diaper and keep a baby entertained with lights from his handlink and a sock puppet.

Mirror images that were not his own: After changing Kristy, Sam feasts his eyes on the solid pack of muscles that is Buster.

For a show that generally gets the effects right with the mirror, they did not even try when Sam speaks a line but the image in the mirror shows off his gold tooth.

It’s a science project: In a fix, coffee can be a not horrible treatment for as asthmatic baby. NOTE: This blog and episode were not written by a medical doctor!

Let’s up the rating: With Kristy being all stuffed up, Bonnie ‘steams’ to clear up the congestion, an activity she does topless.

One more time: “You can’t have kids?” “I don’t know. I sure would have had one by now.”
Sam and Bunny talking about something serious in only the way Bunny can respond (while upping the rating!)

Put right what once went wrong: “Oh Boy!” “No I told ya, it’s a girl.” One of the producers of the series 24 praised the casting of the show with their ‘day players’ in addition to the more prominent cast members. As important as it is to cast a great person as the Big Bad of the season, it is also important to have strong actors such as the cop who takes one of the girls back from the station. After a while, they casting department saw that they should pay attention to Yellow Tie Man and the like.

The casting is simply amazing in this episode. The day players are really into their craft. The store clerk who has eyes for Bunny, the guys who sell their truck to Sam, the big deputy with the small bladder, they are all magnificent. It takes a certain person to act, but you can tell these guys are having a fun time with their roles.

A lot of credit goes to Bunny who plays the stripper with a heart of gold. Several of her lines can come off as ‘dumb blond,’ though she is a redhead. Nonetheless, her dialogue can be downright ditzy at times. She pulls it off and while Sam never knows if she is telling the truth or not, she has a charisma about her. Julie Brown and Scott Bakula have a great chemistry together whether it be in the hotel room or on the road.

Of course, the best acting in the world cannot save a horrible script and there is great writing with Paul Brown and Julie Brown. Yes, that Julie Brown. It is not high praise when someone can write great dialogue for themselves, but so much of this script works. The plotting, the dialogue, the comedy beats, the dramatic moments. This series will never be a rolling on the floor comedy, but this takes its cues from a lot of comedies in the eighties.

Just a fun hour of television.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#545072
Sea Bride
Original Air Date: May 2, 1990
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Written by: Deborah Pratt
Leap date: June 3, 1954

This time: Sam leaps into a ship’s cabin where a woman bursts in, kisses him, then slaps him. He is Phillip Dumont and she is Catherine Farrington, his ex. They were married but he went on a sailing trip and was presumed lost. Catherine moved on but not Phillip who is aboard the same ship Catherine is on, with Catherine due to wed a gentleman named Vincent.

As Catherine prepares to make her exit, her father, Weathers, bangs on the door demanding to talk to Phillip. She hides in the closet as an angry Weathers bursts in and commands Phillip not to interfere further. Just then, porters arrive with flowers Phillip ordered for the bride but were refused. Weathers is infuriated but is convinced to accept the flowers as a wedding present. He leaves but not before getting Sam to promise not to interfere with the wedding.

Al arrives telling Sam that there is an eighty-seven percent chance he is there to get Phillip and Catherine back together again. Vincent has some nasty connections and while he can help save the family financially, it does not go well. Sam remembers Catherine hiding and she comes out to thank Phillip but leave.

In comes Jennifer, Catherine’s kid sister. The two were in cahoots to bring the couple back together, but Vincent ordered his Best Man/Henchman to kill Sam if he gets too close.

The Wedding Party has a moment to themselves in which it is made clear that Catherine is having jitters, Vincent is a sleazeball and Weathers is very eager for them to wed, though mainly because Vincent can buy them out, though Weathers also tries to smooth things over with his daughter.

Catherine does a good job at avoiding Sam forcing him to ramp things up in the ballroom. Sam and Catherine do a literal and verbal tango during which she agrees to meet him on the condition that he leave her afterwards. As Sam leaves, Vincent and Best Henchman take him out to the deck only for Sam to be saved by the Captain, who is impressed that Phillip was able to navigate his way home after being lost at sea. Sam tells the Captain about Vincent’s rap sheet.

Sam eventually meets with Catherine and the two share a genuine moment, but Catherine still cannot bring herself to admit her love for Sam/Phillip, though they do kiss. She runs off and Sam is intercepted by Best Henchman.

The next morning on the wedding day, Sam is nowhere to be found even though Jennifer has searched the entire ship. She did not search the garbage bin, because Vincent has dropped Sam into that mess and releases it into the ocean before leaving Sam to be thrown out with the trash.

At the wedding, Catherine cannot go through with it and has the support of her father. Sam shows up and tells the captain what happened. The Captain confines them both to their quarters, though Vincent does not go down quietly. Weathers is able to take care of that obstacle and Catherine professes her love. Sam leaps …

… into a person wearing women’s clothing and wig. As he laments his fate, some hooligans run out and the radio in Sam’s ‘purse’ shows that he is an undercover cop while the hooligans make their way to him.

Stop talking to yourself: Leaping in is bad enough without seasickness on top of it.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al is able to put his inner Romeo to work in getting the couple together.

Mirror images that were not his own: After taking a few moments to get accustomed to his surroundings, Sam sees Phillip in the mirror before he is immediately hit with the door to the cabin.

Brush with history: Sam tells a mobster about ‘an offer he can’t refuse,’ which the mobster likes.

Something or someone: Sam gets to smooch with Catherine before leaping out.

It’s a science project: Al is disgusted with the waste the ship dumps into the ocean, a good deal of which is not biodegradable.

Let’s up the rating: Sam spends the last ten minutes of the episode in his underwear, though he is covered in garbage for a good chunk of that.

One more time: “I am going to marry Vincent tomorrow and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Now just get out of my room.” “I think this is my room.”
Catherine and Sam as Sam proves quite adept at his bearings.

The Rainbow Treknection: There are actually quite a few Trek alumni in this. Beverly Leach played Dayla, one of the aliens in Voyager’s Nightingale after playing Catherine here. Not just that as after playing Evil Guy Vicent, James Harper went on to play Evil Guy Rao Vantika on Deep Space Nine.

But the big draw here is J. G. Hertzler who would not only go onto recur as Martok but would co-star with Scott Bakula as Advocate Kolos.

Put right what once went wrong: “Vinnie’s creepy but I doubt he’s actually murdered anybody.” Like any good farce, this episode depends on the caliber of actors and each one delivers on that front. There are a lot of characters in different roles and they have an excellent script to work with. Even throwaway roles like the Captain or Catherine’s mother have some meat on the bones.

The villain is both well played and fleshed out. A lot of his characterization comes from other characters, but Harper embraces it. He is a scumbag you can see coming a mile away and I love every minute of it. He follows the line of ‘villain willing to bail out woman’s family for marriage’ area, but he is fully in mafia mode.

The Farrington family comes off very well, too. Hertzler is not quite auditioning for Martok, but you can see the through line. One of the consequences of him playing a Klignon warrior for roughly four years is that we really did not get to see many comedic beats, but he able to show his chops here, particularly at the first act where he goes from challenging Sam to fisticuffs to calmly accepting a wedding gift. He and Bakula have great chemistry, particularly when both slug out some bad guys and commiserate over their experiences at Harvard. As Catherine, Leach goes well beyond the crying bride-to-be that the script calls for. She has vulnerability and great scenes with Bakula.

Juliet Scori almost steals the show as Jennifer. She can get a bit bratty/coached at times, but she handles the role like a champ. She has great scenes as she tries to bring the family back together. This is not the best performance by a child star I have ever seen, but I am impressed. She can hold her own with adults and that is saying something given the caliber of adults we see.

Of course, every good farce needs great writing and boy is this episode on point. The first act can very much be a Marx Brothers sliding doors comedy with characters rushing in and out of a room while hijinks ensue. Most importantly we are introduced to the characters, even those not present. Catherine kisses and slaps Sam, Weathers challenges him to a fight and Jennifer snoops around. We know what is going on and how the characters fit in with one another.

There are also scenes with a lot of characters, and everything hold up from the bridal party to wedding. I generally look froward to Deborah Pratt scripts due to social justice, but she is quite adept at comedy and director Joe Napolitano is great with letting the actors do their thing. The writing is solid, and I eventually gave up at just finding a couple good lines out of the bunch. The tango scene is fun both with the actual tango and the characters talking to each other.

A great way to spend the hour and a fun romp from an actor we have seen in another capacity.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#545948
M.I.A.
Original Air date: May 9, 1990
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Micheael Zinberg
Leap Date: April 1, 1969

This time: Sam leaps into a person wearing women’s clothing and wig. As he laments his fate, some hooligans run out and the radio in Sam’s purse shows that he is an undercover cop named Jake Rawlins while the hooligans make their way to him. Sam is saved in the nick of time by his partner, Skaggs. Like any good partner, Skaggs covers for Sam and later reveals that he himself froze in Vietnam. Sam can see that Skaggs is still troubled by the memory.

Al arrives and tells Sam he is there to help a woman named Beth. Her husband is captured in Vietnam and while he does get repatriated, by the time that happens, she has remarried and moved on. We see Beth Cavalicci running into Dirk Simon. Dirk changes her tire and melts her heart. Skaggs and Sam arrive on the scene and Sam changes the tire while Skaggs investigates Dirk. Things get less heated and Dirk leaves, but not before giving his card to Beth.

At a counterculture event to catch a drug dealer, Al tells Sam that Beth and Dirk still get together. Al has a strong motivation for Sam to prevent Beth from remarrying since he was captured and when he came back found that his wife had declared him dead and moved on. Sam in convinced that Beth just needs some hope that her husband is alive.

Meanwhile, the hooligans from the teaser find some weapons intent on getting revenge.

At the marina, Beth chats up a woman who turns out to be Dirk’s mother. Beth turns down a lunch date with the two as Sam arrives with flowers in hand. She is confused (and a little freaked out) but agrees to dine with him. Things are a bit awkward at first but work out well enough that they wind up at her place where she reflects on someone that she could not save earlier that day.

On the other side of town, the hooligans get a woman to call the police and ask for Skaggs.

The next day, Beth runs into Dirk and the two have lunch. Sam interrupts the two at Beth’s place and Dirk leaves. Sam wants to take Beth south of the border for a real Mexican meal. She goes to change, and Sam sees the picture of her husband; it is Al!

After giving Susan a quick kiss goodbye, Sam confronts Al. Sam reminds Al of the noninterference rules, but Al is still fixated at getting back together with Beth. Skaggs goes to a bar only to be confronted by the armed hooligans. Sam shows up with a shotgun to save the day. Sam does not leap but figures that Al gets to have a moment with Beth. Though she cannot hear him, Al talks to his beloved.

Sam leaps ….

Only Sam can see and hear: Al knows an awful lot about women’s undergarments.

Mirror images that were not his own: It is not until nearly the half hour mark that Sam sees Jake in his locker’s mirror.

It’s a science project: We get a bit of gun knowledge with Skaggs thinking Sam’s gun jammed when it has the safety on.

Let’s up the rating: Dressed in drag in the police locker room, Sam gets his share of hoots and hollers. They also pranked him by putting various bits of lingerie in his locker.

One more time: “Was he successful?” “I met your mother yesterday.”
Dirk asking if Beth digs Jake and Beth not saying yes.

The Rainbow Treknection: Norman Large who played Dirk has as many characters on Trek as I have fingers but his is most prominently known as Maques and the first Proconsul Neral. Sierra Parker played Dirk’s mother but also played another famed Romulan in Ambassador T’Pel.

The biggest actor in both series is Susan Doil who played Beth, a love interest for Al, here and Denara Pel, a love interest for The Doctor on Voyager.

Trivial Matters: Episodes tend to conclude with a teaser for the next. This episode pretty much ends with Al and Beth looking at each other while the leaping effect happens behind them and no teaser. Pretty good way to not lock yourself in for a long summer haitus.

Put right what once went wrong: “You didn’t give me a parking ticket, did you?” “Thought about it.” One problem with doing a rewatch is that the big surprises in an episode are not going to be that impactful. To use a Trek example, many of my contemporaries who first saw City on the Edge of Forever knew ahead of time that Edith Keeler would die. That did not take anything away from an excellent episode, one of the best in the franchise which is still very worthwhile to watch even if you know the outcome.

Similarly, I knew going into M.I.A. that Beth was Al’s wife. That did not take away from the excellent work in this episode. We see Dirk and Susan having a connection, a really good one in fact. The two have great chemistry together and you believe that they will be great for one another. Dirk is even catty with Sam when it becomes clear that there is a love triangle. This is not some jerk trying to woo her, though Al tries to sell that as best he can.

Beth is a strong independent woman trying to move on. She does not know Al is alive and is very sympathetic. As much as Al tries to tell us she should not move on, she tells us that she should. Doil is a fantastic actress, happy with both paramours going after her. She does not take things too far but opens up to them a little.

Season one ended with Al and Sam getting into an argument and it felt artificial. Here it is done much better. Al keeps on trying to fit the square peg into a round hole and you can tell there is something off. At one point, Al does not even refer to his handlink when telling Sam what will, happen and Sam does not pick up on it. Being ever the great friend Sam lets Al get things off his chest but does not entirely let him off the hook. In a rarity for a television show, we have talk of the guy upstairs and the guy downstairs with is a great callback to the top of the season.

The writing supports something off as well. The scenes with Beth and Dirk as well as Beth and Dirk’s mother feel very natural. Al getting Sam to seduce Beth seems uncomfortable and it very well should. Writer Bellisario wrote a great script and Director Zinberg let the actors play off the material.

It is not entirely perfect, though. The hooligans are a bit of a distraction. While they are there to make the episode work since there really is no way around them, their later scenes fall short compared to the other things that are happening. Also, Al says that he never fed any scenarios other than reuniting with Beth into Ziggy, but Ziggy seems pretty good at figuring things out anyway. We know that Gooshie is listening to everything going on, at least everything that Al is saying, and he should know that the odds are low, or at least that Sam should save Skaggs.

Speaking of Skaggs, he is at best a minor character in the grand scheme of the episode, but he has a great portrayal of trauma, particularly with a male. This is rarely discussed today let alone seen and to have it so prominent on screen is breathtaking.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#547305
Quantum Leap Second Season Overview
Original Air dates: September 20, 1989 - May 9, 1990

This time: Dr. Samuel Beckett’s journey through time continued. He leapt into a member of the clergy, a Native American and a disabled man for the first time. There was also not one but two leaps into women and believing he has leapt into a third in the season finale, giving us an unofficial and odd trilogy.

Sam also began to remember his life before stepping into the accelerator. He plays the piano, knows several forms of martial arts, and has a fear of heights. Additionally, he remembers his brother Tom.

Not everything would work out well. Problems with funding would be a huge threat in the premiere episode and come to prove a bigger issue near the end of the season.

Al, the project observer, would continue to assist Sam. Part omniscient observer, part knowledge bank, part confidant, he and Sam would continue to bond as Sam went around the timeline. We would also learn about Dr. Beeks, the psychologist for the project and meet Susan, the one that got away.

Favorite fact check: From Good Morning Peoria: If the fifties, Rock and Roll was freaking out the adults by being popular with teens. Role Playing Games and video games would follow with the former resulting in fearing teens would wander through the sewers.

Favorite stop talking to yourself: From Honeymoon Express: Sam asks a higher power if he is supposed to sleep with Diane and asks for a sign, wherein Diane shows up in lingerie. After taking care of Roget, he asks to either leap out or for ‘something or someone’ to look the other way.

Favorite only Sam can see and hear: From What Price Gloria? For the first time Sam leaps into a woman, we get the impression that Al rushed over to ogle at Sam(antha), which is creepy on several levels.

Favorite mirror images that were not his own: From A Portrait for Troian, While Jimmy and Troian argue over credentials, Sam looks at Dr. Mintz in the mirror. Dr. Mintz being played by Series creator Donald Bellisario and Troian played by his wife and episode writer Deborah Pratt.

Honorable mention from Leaping Without a Net: As is apparently common in a carnival, Sam looks at himself in a funhouse mirror appearing very short. Immediately after, we see a shorter person warped to be very tall.

Favorite brush with history: From Jimmy: Sam tells nephew Corey the story of Star Wars as a bedtime story.

Favorite something or someone: From Blind Faith: This category is usually reserved for the leap out, but the timing for the leap in is fortuitous. Leaping into a pianist, Sam leaps in at the very end of the movement and plays chopsticks well enough to foreshadow his eventual musical ability.

Favorite it’s a science project: From Good Morning Peoria: With the transmitter to the radio station being cut, Sam finds a way to fix it with the aluminum from the gutters. Because he is just that awesome.

Favorite tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow: From Honeymoon Express: We spend a lot of time in the season premiere in the future. Though we only see the inside of a courtroom, it is sprinkled throughout the hour.

Favorite let’s up the rating: From The Americanization of Machiko: Working under the hot sun, Machiko cools off by taking off her top, in public.

Favorite one more time: From Honeymoon Express: “He’s not alone Admiral. He has God.”
Senator Weitzman to Al in the hearing.

Favorite Rainbow Treknection: There are a lot of random guests from several series in this season, probably the most prominent of which of J G. Hertzler as Weathers Farringer but the biggest draw in this category is Robert Duncan McNiel before he got into either directing or Trek.

Favorite Trivial Matters: From Honeymoon Express: There are callbacks to Genesis, The Right Hand of God, The Color of Truth and How the Tess Was Won. Additionally, Weitzman (or rather, Weitzman‘s wife) was referenced in Star-Crossed.

This is the third episode (After Genesis and Double Identify) to break the ‘one leap per episode’ rule. Yeah, we will try to keep score.

This episode broke the pattern that we are accustomed to, but Sam utters his signature phrase twice at the start of his leap.

Honorable mention to “Catch a Falling Star” which had a literal curtain call over the closing credits.

Put right what once went wrong: “Mind if I ask you a question?” “As long as it’s not about anything personal or professional.” After a very short first season of nine episodes, two of which were the pilot, Quantum Leap needed to continue establishing itself while making strides towards the show we would know and love.

A lot of the changes are cosmetic. Al gets sound effects and special effects. His handheld device will start to not have enough capacity causing him to hit it. The show would not have Sam narrate the introduction and opt for a more traditional saga sell. The leap effect is enhanced.

The episodic nature of the series means that it is hard to have an overarching narrative. Still early in the series, the standalone episodes seem more in favor than the series as a whole. There are nice bookends to the season by bringing Al into greater focus, but aside from the female ‘trilogy’ (which does not really hold up as the first two ends are a problem but the middle one is not) that is about it. It is an anthology series that you can pretty much watch in any order with little overarching continuity.

There are seeds planted for later and some fun hours to watch. There are opportunities to revisit prior successes with African American communities and extrapolating that for other matters of social justice that still resonate today. There were also riffs on popular genre tropes such as absurdism and fraternities. They expanded their scope but did not really grow. Al was a bit more toned down but being eternally amorous is not the best character trait to have and it got flat out creepy with him leering at Sam during the first leap as a woman.

All in all, the season had a bit of a slump at the start but was positive overall. There were no huge standouts, The Color of Truth remains my favorite, but we did (hopefully) hit a bottom point with A Portrait for Torian. Things are good overall, but it is time for the show to stop treading water and swim in a direction.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#548340
The Leap Home, Part I
Original Air Date: September 25, 1990
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Leap Date: November 26, 1969

This time: Sam leaps into a cornfield. It is a familiar sight to him as is one of the cheerleaders nearby who asks him out. He has leaped into himself, albeit a younger version. He is beyond ecstatic to see his mom, dad and kid sister Katie. Most of all, his older brother, Tom, is alive.

At dinner with the family, they discuss an upcoming basketball game. Al shows up and Sam excuses himself from Homemade Peach Cobbler. The upcoming basketball game is against their archrivals which Sam’s team originally lost. If they had won, they would have been state champs. Sam does not want to leave that quickly, tough. His dad will die in a few years and Katie winds up with an abusive alcoholic.

The next morning, he puts a plan into effect, making things healthier for his father. No cigarettes, decaf coffee, and a carb/cholesterol free breakfast. Dad does not take to the changes well, or at all, despite Sam trying to convince the family otherwise, particularly Katie who tastes skim milk and makes that yuck face. He initially thinks of skipping basketball practice but is convinced to go, more to see his buddies than prepare for the game.

At practice, Coach is eager to win the game and he brings in an outsider to get the team in the right mindset. Wearing a gorilla mask, the ringer keeps the team on their toes. As it turns out, Sam was playing against Tom!

While hunting, Sam tries to talk Tom out of Vietnam. This is hard for Tom to accept, even with Sam making good points to the contrary. When all seems lost, Sam tells Tom that he can see the future and offers proof. At first, the family indulges Sam, but Katie breaks down with the thought of Tom’s death.

After Thanksgiving dinner, Sam and Tom shoot some hoops and Tom gives Sam some pointers. Sam senses the rivalry against the other team and gets Tom to promise that if Sam wins the game, Tom will avoid service on the day of his death ,which Tom agrees to.

Sam is victorious, using the technique Tom showed, and wins the game. Unfortunately, Al finds out that Tom still dies in Vietnam. Sam leaps …

… into a swamp and is quickly ambushed along with his troop. He is in Vietnam and his brother Tom is alive.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam has a sense of déjà vu when leaping into himself.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al thinks of what he could do with his current mind in a sixteen year old body. Also, his handlink acts up in the end and takes a little too long to tell him that Tom will still die.

Mirror images that were not his own: Sam sees himself in his front door’s window and in the barn’s mirror, around the house.

Brush with history: When talking to Katie, Sam tutors her on the lingo and accidentally tells her that the Beatles will break up.

It’s a science project: Tom tells Sam to get into his opponents face while making a jump shot. Seems like a great way to make a foul, but it works.

Let’s up the rating: There are basketball practice and a match. If you like your guys young and dripping with sweat, this is the episode for you.

One more time: “You don’t believe you’re here to help your family?” “Of course I do.” “Then why are you worried about leaping if you win the game?”
A convicted Al trying to convince Sam

The Rainbow Treknection: After playing Sam’s mother, Caroline Kava saved Worf’s life in Ethics as Dr. Toby Russell.

Trivial Matters: Scott Bakula pulls a double role as Sam and Sam’s father. The prosthetics and acting are workable, but he is listed as a guest star in his own series. One must wonder what those contract negotiations were like.

Additionally, the listing is “Scott Bakula as his father” leaving us to wonder if he is playing Sam’s father or Scott’s.

For the closing credits, we are treated to a reprise of Bakula’s “Imagine” cover.

Put right what once went wrong: “You’re not changing their future, Sam. You’re just making their present miserable.” Sometimes you just need a simple episode and everything else will work itself out. This is mainly remembered for being all about Tom, but that does not give enough credit to the rest of the cast. Tom does not even show up until twenty minutes in.

So much of this episode works well. Sam has a fantastic reunion with his family. As much as we see the bond with Tom, we also see the bond he shares with Katie. There are scenes around the farm, a breakfast table scene that feels very authentic. Sam is trying to get his dad to live a healthier lifestyle while his mom is making sure Katie is not too far out. The lines overlap and it feels just like any other family. We have a nice montage over Thanksgiving and everything.

David Newsome is likeable as all heck as Tom. You have a southern boy raised right on the cusp of manhood just back from his first year in college. Olivia Burnette is no slouch as Katie and has remarkable chemistry with Bakula. Carolina Kava does not have as much to do as the matriarch, but she takes charge when she needs to and holds the family together. As his father, Bakula does an admirable job in the double role not especially eager to fully adopt the healthier lifestyle and making sure Sam does his chores while being the supportive father.

As great as it is for Sam and Tom to get along, Sam and Al have another scuffle. This time, Sam is in the driver’s seat and Al at first is darn near confrontational but does listen to Sam. It is a fun twist on the second season finale. Later he is conciliatory but is a great outsider and friend to Sam, giving him what he needs to win the game. Their conversation early on goes to the core of the series.

Music is not something I usually bring up, but we have the main theme played on the harmonica at the start of the hour and it helps ground us is what we have in store. Of course Sam was not successful in getting Tom to stay alive which leads us to a rare cliffhanger for this series.
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Second Edition Design Manager
By The Guardian (Richard New)
 - Second Edition Design Manager
 -  
2E World Quarter-Finalist 2021
#548612
This is such a good episode (the premiers and finales every season usually are). Sam lamenting that he can help everyone but the people he loves... Right in the feels.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#548791
The Guardian wrote:This is such a good episode
Total agreement.
The Guardian wrote:(the premiers and finales every season usually are).
Without getting too far ahead of things, the key word is usually.
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By Boffo97 (Dave Hines)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Moderator
#548794
Scott Bakula series finales do not have a good reputation... at least not for me. ;)
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#549415
The Leap Home (Part 2) – Vietnam
Original air date: October 5, 1990
Written by: Donald P. Bellisario
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap date: April 7, 1970

This time: Sam leaps into a swamp and is quickly ambushed along with his troop. He is in Vietnam and his brother Tom is alive. The squad arrives back at base where the Commanding Officer, Grimwald, is chatting up reporter Maggie Dawson. The guys pull a prank on her and head on out to a local bar.

He is Herbert Williams, A.K.A. Magic, the squads good luck charm. Al confirms the date, meaning that Tom will die the next day. Technically he is not there to save Tom; Ziggy believes that Sam just has to make the mission succeed. There is also little to go on beyond a code name of Lazarus. After Sam leaves, Al listens in on the operation. Their mission is upriver and involves a local defector woman named T.T.

At the bar, the squad is flirting with Dawson when Al looks up a photo essay of Dawson’s and finds out that there will be a sneak attack that night killing Grimwald. Sam makes the choice to tell the squad even though if he saves Grimwald, he might leap out before he can save Tom.

The guys mobilize but apart from Maggie sneaking out to get a shot (earning her being put under the armed watch of T.T.) there is no action. Al is flummoxed as to how Sam changed history since it was too dark for the other side to see that they were prepared. Sam is chewed out offscreen and tries radioing in as such, but the radio is turned to the wrong frequency. This will probably be important later.

Maggie seduces Sam to be taken on Lazarus. To Al’s surprise, Sam agrees. Al later finds out that if Maggie comes on the mission, she will write an article which can be pulled from the archives. It turns out that the mission is to rescue some P.O.W.s though Al cannot pull the article because Maggie died on the mission.

Maggie sneaks off while the squad goes out to complete their mission. Al tells Sam where the P.O.W.s are, but Sam has a radio they intercepted. It is set to the same radio frequency that Sam saw in the bunker meaning that T.T. is a double-agent. Just as she is about to shoot Tom, Sam shoots her. The squad leaves to avoid an ambush but Maggie hits a land mine handing off her camera before dying.

At the bar, Sam saved Tom but lost Maggie. Al and a bunch of the other guys try to take the heat off Sam, but Grimwald brings in Maggie’s final photos. It turns out she got some Pulitzer for her final picture, of the P.O.W.s being led back to holding, one of whom is Al! Tom looks at his watch and realizes that it is past his reported day of death. He tanks Sam while looking straight at him. Sam leaps …

… into a priest with a smooching couple right in front of him.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam marvels at how he can leap back to help his brother. Later, he wonders why everything has not been resolved.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al was in the Navy as well, but ship based life was different from the Seals.

Mirror images that were not his own: While getting dressed, Sam sees Magic in the mirror as well as later at the local watering hole.

It’s a science project: Al helps Sam with his gun, with a rapid-fire mount and general Navy stuff.

Let’s up the rating: Maggie knows how to flirt and pour cold water on the boys. She also hopes that her getting ready for bed does not bother Sam which it does not though it does get Al’s attention.

One more time: “You’ve got Top Secret Clearance.” “And it took place over twenty-five years ago.”
Sam wondering why Al cannot get classified data from his own department and Al telling Sam how hard it is.

The Rainbow Treknection: Not necessarily a Trek star, but we have Andrea Thompson following Claudia Christensen’s lead in playing Dawson. Thompson was Talia Winters for the first couple seasons of Babylon 5.

Trivial Matters: This being the second half of a two parter we start the episode with rare a ‘previously on’ segment.

Thompson is not the only person in this episode who would go onto greater fame later. Tia Carrere plays T.T. while Patrick Walburton is Blaster, one of the guys in the squad.

Part one was titled ‘The Leap Home” this episode adds a dash with the word Vietnam.

Put right what once went wrong: “I kind of like to think of us as academy men as fraternity brothers, don’t you?” “And not during the army-navy game, sir.” This is a two parter with two very different parts. Whereas last week we saw Sam with his family, this week we have a war drama.

Thankfully, this show does what it does best by showing off the characters early. We get a sense of how tight knit the guys are with them pulling a prank on their C.O. and Dawson is established to handle things on her end. It is helpful to see this before they go off to fight.

The only constant between these two hours is Tom. No longer the big brother who was in his hometown, he is the squad leader. He and Sam have a touching moment harkening back to the promise he made to his little brother. There is a good contrast between the two and David Newsome has another fantastic performance to show off his range.

Best of all, Al has a chance to put his navy training to use. Out of date but still with the knowledge to help Sam get through the basics. There are some heart wrenching discussions between the two as they frantically try to figure out how to save everyone. Plus, there is a great scene on the helicopter where Al is just standing in midair. He also tells Sam that he kept his wits about him in captivity. It is a nice way to harken back to the season two finale for both characters along with a bonus of foreshadowing the ending.

The writing is pretty strong, but the plotting takes a few hits in the end. Why does the land mine not completely obliterate Dawson? How is her camera still in one piece let alone able to have film that can be developed? Still, it does lead us to Tom’s revelation to tie everything together.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#550173
Leap of Faith
Original Air Date: October 12, 1990
Directed by: James Whitmore, Jr.
Story by: Nick Harding, Karen Hall and Tommy Thompson
Teleplay by: Tommy Thompson
Leap Date: August 19, 1963

This time: Sam leaps into a priest with a smooching couple right in front of him. After the service, the Monticello sisters give Sam some critiques. Sam, who has leapt into Father Frank Pistano, is saved by Father John Roberts. Father John is quite a fan of ‘liquid courage’ and will soon be presiding over the funeral of a twelve-year-old, one that he baptized. Officially, the death is an accident, but Father John is not so sure.

At the funeral, most parishioners are mourning, but a young man named Tony snatches a hood ornament on his way to the service while his young brother Joey acts as the lookout.

Tony’s presence causes quite a change in the tenor of the service. Things escalate when he offers his sympathy to the grieving mother, but it does not go well, and Father Frank eventually order that the two leave. Joey tries to express remorse but cannot bring himself to do so.

Al shows up to connect the dots. Tony was involved in a lethal robbery and there were two witnesses involved. One is the young man who was buried and the other is Father John. The trial is in two days and Father John will not make it.

Sam goes to a seedier part of town to talk to Tony. Tony clearly is involved in an attempt on Father John but will not admit to it in public. Father John arrives and a fight ensues. Later, Sam has a chance to talk with Father John and discovers that in addition to reliance on alcohol, Father John was a Chaplin in the war and has that is influencing him somewhat, possibly to the point of trauma.

Joey sneaks into the church to talk to Sam. Joey initially wants Sam to get Father John not to testify. Sam cannot do that but finds out that Tony’s father is dead, and Tony has never been the same since.

Taking confession in place of Father John, Tony tries to shoot Sam. Sam has a feeling something is going on and manages to avoid most of the blow, but he is grazed. Father John goes after Tony while Sam recovers (perhaps due to a prayer from Al?) and realizes that he must stop Father John from killing Tony.

Father John holds Tony at gunpoint on the same tracks where the twelve-year-old was killed. Father John confesses that he did not witness the murder. He lied to support the other witness and intended to recant his account after the trial. Sam is able to talk Father John out of it.

Sam later consoles the now sober Father John. Al tells Sam that Tony does time but turns out all right as do Joey and Father John who are bonding. Sam leaps …

… into a photographer face to face with a lion.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam has his shortest soliloquy yet talking about how leaping requires a bit of faith.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al appears before and after the funeral service outside the church. One wonders if he was standing there the entire time.

Mirror images that were not his own: In the office with Father John, Sam sees a novice (but you young) Father Frank looking back at him.

Brush with history: Upon hearing that a young boxer has to miss practice due to work at a butcher shop, Sam tells him about a movie where a guy practiced on raw meat. The young man’s locker is labeled “S. Stallone.”

Something or someone: Despite making sure that Father John spares Tony, Sam does not leap until the next morning where he merely checks in with Father John.

One more time: “We hardly noticed the shaky legs.” “Or your heavy breathing.” “Or the sweaty palms. “Or the crack in your voice.”
The Montachelli sisters giving Sam some critiques on officiating his first wedding.

Let’s up the rating: At the bar, Tony asks his girl if she has something to give to the father and tells Sam that she has already given a lot that day.

Put right what once went wrong: “Do you want to talk about what happened today?” “No, but I got the feeling you do.” This is an amazing character piece with three fantastic actors, two of whom are young.

Going chronologically, we have Joey. Played authentically by Davey Roberts, there is a lot that this kid goes through. Being a lookout for his brother, asking for a light, finding out his father may have committed suicide, the hour has a lot for him to do. Roberts is vey authentic not winking at the camera. Everything he does is for the love of his brother and you get the sense that these two just have each other. He is thirteen going on forty.

Tony is played with perfect New York swarm. He is capable of very bad acts and the show did a fantastic job of introducing him stealing something from a car and then crashing the funeral of someone he murdered. There is also a vulnerable side with Joey. We see the guy who can murder a priest, but we also see someone looking out for his young brother. Danny Nucco turns out a terrific performance.

Father John is the center of all this. No one knows he is an alcoholic and Sam realizes that there are some very real demons he is facing. We find out about the war and how much Father John cares for his congregation. The scenes with him and Sam are not just business or religion; these two are deep friends. The transformation from priest to drunkard to murderer is one that you can see develop over the course of the hour. He is not too preachy, but Sandy McPeak pours his heart out.

James Whitmore Jr got a bit heavy handed with the directing (the thunderstorms are a little too convenient and the boxing metaphor is just too cleanly set up) but just lets the actors do their thing. Tommy Thompson did a great job fully fleshing out and writing his, Karen Hall and Nick Harding’s story.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#551175
"One Strobe Over The Line"
Original Air Date: October 19, 1990
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Michael Zinberg
Leap Date: June 15, 1965

This time: Sam leaps into a photographer face to face with a lion. He is photographer extraordinaire, Karl. Also on set are up and coming model Edie and Helen, Edie’s agent. Edie is having problems keeping at it (the ad executive, Byron, is ready to replace her) so Helen gives her some pills.

The shoot ends quickly, and Sam gives Edie a lift home. It turns out she is not planning on modeling forever. She hopes to buy her dad some farm equipment, put her sister through school and become a vet one day. The two bond over similar situations and families. Al arrives and tells Sam that the ad agency is teetering on bankruptcy. In three and a half days, Edie dies in a combination of pills and alcohol.

Sam fumbles his way through the next days’ shoot, with a huge thanks to Karl’s assistant and Al. Edie needs some more pills from Helen, particularly since there is a dinner with some big kahunas that night. At dinner, Sam notices Edie is not eating but drinking quite a bit. Helen also calls Sam away to make out, something that the two engage in quite often, but this time Sam refuses. Helen comes clean about the drugs but after being confronted, she threatens Edie.

At Edie’s apartment, Edie confesses to being addicted. Sam offers to help her get clean. One sober montage later and they are ready for the shoot. Edie and the lion are showing signs of fatigue, but Sam is at least able to provide coffee to the former though not before Helen sneaks in some pills.

Edie gets into the shoot to the point where she indulges in some champagne and has the idea to antagonize the lion. A chase ensues but Sam is able to fend off the animal. Sam confronts Helen and finds out about the drugs Edie is taking. Sam needs her to be engaged and moving to get the drugs out of her system. Everyone leaves Helen alone, Edie goes back to her farm. Sam leaps …

… into a man with candlelight reading a book from 1898.

Stop talking to yourself: While leaping can be like photography, leaping does not quite make one a professional photographer.

Only Sam can see and hear: Surprisingly, Al appreciates photography. Unsurprisingly, he likes the ones with hot models.

Mirror images that were not his own: Needing to take a break after coming face to face with a lion, Sam sees Karl in the dressing area mirror.

Brush with history: This category is usually reserved for Sam, but an ad executive makes reference to Cheryl Tiegs or Twiggy.

It’s a science project: There is an art to photography, but Al seems to think that Sam can just have attitude and have his assistant do the set up/tear down.

Let’s up the rating: There are two women featured in this episode and both of them try to seduce Sam.

One more time: “How do you feel?” “Fine.” “That’s interesting because you seem like a country girl tired from a long day of milking cows.”
Helen being not exactly supportive with Edie.

The Rainbow Treknection: After guest starring as Edie, Marjorie Monaghan guest starred as Number One on Babylon 5. In between, she was Freya on Voyagers’ “Heroes and Demons”

Trivial Matters: Edie either has seven cats or five cats two of which are able to move around without making a sound, change the color of their fur and gain weight in an instant.

Al says that Edie dies due to a combination of drugs and alcohol. The episode implies that she is eaten by a lion which is a far cry from an overdose.

Put right what once went wrong: “Just think of them like aspirin. They’ll make you feel better. And I promise you won’t ever have to take them again. Come on, I cross my heart.” The eighties and nineties had all sorts of episode about drug addiction. Well maybe Little House on the Prairie avoided that but Star Trek: The Next Generation had a couple to make up for it. They generally ran the gamut from good to not good.

This hour features a strong sequence of Edie trying to sober up. The score gets downright Hitchcockian while Monaghan plays the effects perfectly. It starts out where she cannot get comfortable leading to paranoia and later, she frantically searches for her pills. Finally, she conks out for over a day. It is an amazingly effective sequence that is all to familiar to anyone who has to get clean or anyone who knows someone who is getting clean.

Monaghan and Bakula have fantastic chemistry together. Acting is tough especially in a show like Quantum Leap where you rotate your cast every episode but here that works since this is the first time these two characters have met. It is a pleasure to see them work together.

The rest seems to be there to support the drug plot. The abandonment of Helen, the photo shoot, a montage of a photo shoot, a dinner scene. All effective (more or less) but also window dressing. It is very good watchable window dressing but window dressing nonetheless through it is fun to see Bakula direct a photography session. The ad execs never really gel and Helen’s seduction of Sam/Karl kind of pops up out of nowhere and disappears as quickly but the tentpole is strong and the rest is supportive.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#552034
The Boogieman
Original Air Date: October 26, 1990
Written by: Chris Ruppenthal
Directed by: Joe Napolitano
Leap Date: October 31, 1964

This time: Sam leaps into a man with candlelight reading a book from 1879. Wondering exactly when he is, he looks around the house and, on a stairway landing, is accosted by two spooky figures causing him to tumble down the stairs.

They are Stevie, his assistant and Mary, his fiancée. He is Joshua Rey, occult author extraordinaire. They rouse him but soon Stevie has to leave. Mary has a talk with Sam about killing off a character in an upcoming work. Apparently, there is not much for the story or character without that happening.

A man named Tully is working on one of the upstairs windows. Sam goes to talk with him, noting a goat at the foot of the ladder. Soon, Tully falls to his death. In recounting things to Sheriff Masters, there is problem since there are not any goats in the area. Al shows up and says that Mary is found dead that night in their house. Sam/Josh was the prime suspect, but Sam will not do that. Mary was the only other person at the house and is Al’s prime suspect.

Town gossip Dorothy comes over for a visit and is attacked by a deadly pet snake when alone in the kitchen. Mary is spooked as is Sam, especially when the typewriter upstairs is seemingly updating a manuscript with the deaths. Al confronts Sam about Mary being the killer and Mary overhears leading her to confront Sam. A skull flies off a shelf and Mary has a seizure.

Sam and Al go to Mary’s house to find evidence one way or the other but run into the suspicious Sheriff Masters. Both suspect the other but neither has proof, though Masters does glance at Al’s general direction at times.

Driving home, a freak accident with a car following him, a cat, a goat and Stevie result in Sam swerving off the road. In the aftermath, Sam cannot find the goat or the cat. Stevie explains that his car stalled, and he was stranded, though that does not explain why he put on a pumpkin mask to flag down a passing driver.

Suspecting something afoot, Sam goes to the hospital only to find a crashed police cruiser on the way there with Masters dead. Back at his house, Sam finds the Sheriff’s truck outside along with Stevie telling him that Masters and Mary are inside. Dismissing Stevie, Sam enters to rescue Mary. Masters enters but Sam grabs his wrist, at which point he transforms in Al who says “Baaa!” Sam has already figured out something was going on, but all the pieces come together when Real Al comes through the imaging chamber door. Fake Al does not like someone putting right what he put wrong and reaches out to choke Sam. At Real Al’s urging, Sam returns the favor …

… and wakes up at the bottom of the staircase. Mary and Stevie comfort Sam while Real Al says that Sam is there to save Tully at which point Sam rushes up and does so, though the goat is nowhere to be found. Sam leaps ...

… onto a bus as Miss Sugar Belle.

Fact check & Brush with history: Assistant Stevie’s last name is King. His car sometimes has a mind of its own. He is interested in psychokinesis and has a dog named Cujo. That last bit is odd since the novel was not inspired by a pet.

Stop talking to yourself: Sam finds that leaping leaves him kind of like being a scarecrow. Later, Sam tries to piece the clues together but comes up short.

Mirror images that were not his own: After getting the wits knocked out of him, Sam sees Joshua Rey in the mirror. This being in Sam’s head, we do not get the audio jingle.

Something or someone: Although he saves Tully, Sam gets to hang around long enough to find the identity of his assistant.

It’s a science project: Brilliant scientist Doctor Sam Beckett believes that a person with epilepsy can have a form of psychokinesis. Right ….

One more time: “Just look at her eyes.” “Maybe she’s wearing contact lenses. Maybe she’s a great poker player. I knew a once you could look him in the eye and couldn’t tell whether he had four of a kind or busted flush.”
Sam and Fake Al arguing superficially about Mary’s innocence.

Trivial Matter: The notion of someone who would put wrong what once went right will come up later.

Put right what once went wrong: “One of these days, I’m going to write the scariest book in the whole wide world except then nobody would probably buy it.” Lat season had a Halloween episode that quickly became my least favorite hours of the series. Even with that low bar to clear, this is a strong episode that has all the trappings of a good spooky tale. Murders, mysteriously appearing animals. Flying skulls. A creepy sheriff.

Dean Stockwell has a chance to shine in this. You can tell that there is something off with some subtle clues. There is no effect for the door or handlink and the costume is different. It is more than that as Stockwell rarely looks down at the handlink and is forceful that Mary is the killer. It is enough to tell you that something is going on but not nearly enough to outright cry foul. As much as this is Bakula’s series to shine, Stockwell does fantastic work here. After the proverbial mask is pulled off his face in the end the effects help sell the menace, but Fake Al gets really creepy. Evil Devil is not a common role for actors but Stockwell goes there and excels. Having Al be the villain (even Fake Al) is genius. The best thing is that on repat viewing it stands up as you can see more of Al being just a bit off.

The writing is excellent even with a couple deaths thrown in there though the script does give us glimpses of them before they die so that they can have an effect on us. There is not a lot of time, but Tully and Dorothy’s deaths do sting a bit mainly because we know them a bit. Mary, Stevie and Masters are all handled well, too. There are trappings of late eighties horror soundtrack but they work.

A huge step up from the prior horror episode and a great hour for whatever season of the year.
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By Faithful Reader (Ross Fertel)
 - Gamma Quadrant
 -  
Continuing Committee Member - Retired
#552840
Miss Deep South
Leap Date: June 7, 1958
Written by: Tommy Thompson
Directed by: Christopher T. Welch
Original Air Date: November 2, 1990

This time: Sam leaps onto a bus as Miss Sugar Belle. At the winner of the 35th Miss Deep South Pageant, Sam gets some tips from Pageant Director Peg Myers, a veteran of several beauty pageants including Miss Southern Belle. He also literally runs into fellow contestant Connie, a fresh face at pageants who could not let the opportunity pass her up. They are met by Clint Beaumont, pageant photographer, who takes a bit of a liking to Connie that goes slightly beyond professional.

As it turns out, Sam and Connie will be roommates. Connie shares that she hopes to go to Hollywood with her winnings, something Beaumont can might help her with. Al arrives and says that not only will Connie not win, she will not even finish. She disappears and is never heard from again.

After a rehearsal, Connie goes off to talk to Beaumont. Per Al, Beaumont will take some illicit pictures which will embarrass Connie. Sam believes that if he is by her side, he can make sure Connie is all right. Al mentions that Darlene, the leapee, used the money she won to become a cardiologist which means that Sam must do well in the pageant and come in at least third.

Coming back from an interview, Sam finds Connie and determines that Beaumont has already taken the pictures. There is still time to convince him to get rid of them. At the swimsuit photo shoot, Sam confronts Beaumont and gives the evidence to Myers. She will look at the pictures, but due to regulations, the person on film will be disqualified.

Myers keeps Beaumont, since she can not get another photographer last minute, and removes Connie from the roster. It turns out Beaumont took pictures of her back in the day. Sam confronts Beaumont and gets the compromising film. Beaumont is fired and Connie is reinstated.

Wondering why he has not leapt, Al says that Sam is a solid fourth which will not do the trick. He performs Great Balls of Fire for the talent competition to the amazement of the crowd and the confoundment of the judges. Sam winds up winning! He leaps …

… into a comfortable position with a girl. Three guys approach the couple to make some trouble.

Only Sam can see and hear: Al shows up at the orientation which causes undue attention towards Sam. One wonders if they could have waited like five minutes or something to talk privately.

Mirror images that were not his own: After getting a lesson in walking (which he does not excel at) Sam sees Darlene Monte in the hotel lobby mirror. Lots of mirrors in the hotel room get duty this episode. With a total of five shots this is a record so far.

Brush with history: Jerry Lee Lewis is appearing at the hotel next week. Though the sign prominently displays June 24, the leap date of the episode is June 7.

Something or someone: Despite doing what it takes to win, Sam gets to hang around to be crowned the thirty-fifth Miss Deep South.

Let’s up the rating: Sam changes out of his talent show outfit.

One more time: “The bus leaves in ten minutes.” “So you’ll take the next one.”
Sam convincing Connie to stay.

Trivial Matter: Tony Dow and Jerry Matthers show up archival footage from Leave it to Beaver. Back then, shows had longer seasons and there was a new episode airing in July.

Put right what once went wrong: “Didn’t anyone ever teach you the proper way to walk?” “Was I doing it wrong?” “Not if you’re planning on becoming a truck driver.” Most episodes of Quantum Leap have had a singular goal. Solve a murder. Help this person. Sure, there are side paths her and there, but they are all in effort to an overall goal. It is refreshing here to have two goals with little overlap.

The pageant is a fun piece to have on display. There are laughs but there are also familiar trappings like a judge a little too eager to get measurements, talent that is questionable and a total bitch who hides the fact that she is disgusted at not winning. Although little more than glorified window dressing, these come across fairly well. Bakula plays the comedy but surely someone who is a martial artist and singer will be able to do basic choreography.

That does not distract from the sleaze ball Beaumont. The show gets all credit in the world for showing the aftereffects including Myers going along with it up to a point. It is great when she puts her foot down and while there is some sympathy for Beaumont as Sam hangs him out the window, the acting and writing are spot on. As amazing as the climax is, it is worth noting that we see the effects on Connie. She feels dirty and hops right in the shower crying and Sam is the only one who can comfort her. As much as we are supposed to feel ire towards Beaumont, Connie gets a lot of sympathy.

I would be remiss for not mentioning Darlene’s mother. She appears as little more than a glorified cameo at the start of the episode to set the stage but is ebullient at her daughter’s accomplishments. Also, Al is surprisingly subdued, considering. He likes the pageant but does not take things too far. He is an advocate of Connie and it is refreshing to see him in that role. The scenes with Sam and Connie are great at building a true friendship and it is great to see the two bonding above and beyond the pageantry. It certainly helps that the first meeting of their characters was in this episode, but it is played beautifully.
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